Raised to Run – Ravi Zacharias

Thank you. Please be seated. Thank you. Thank you so much. Maybe if I leave now, I can tell my wife I got a standing ovation when I finished. So this is really kind of you. But Robert, those words mean a lot. Maybe most of you may not be aware of what your church has already done and what your pastor and your leadership team have already done. Just about a year and a half ago when I was in Indonesia and talking to a businessman and the Lord laid a burden on my heart and frankly, I didn’t want a new burden.

And I was quite happy to be doing carrying the burdens that I was. And yet the burden to reach the thinker, the skeptic, the university student, the person was asking the hard questions. And so we decided about a year ago, June, to fall and to form the Institute of Apologetics and Contemporary Thought. I asked, and it was going to be a tall order in three phases. First, the obtainment of the building, then the refurbishing of it.

At about five, ten days before Christmas, we purchased the building in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s about 125 thousand square foot, nearly five floors of it. It’s a beautiful building and we are now going to start the build out and the refurbishing. We could never have done it without the encouragement of your pastor, Robert Morris, and, of course, the steam behind it. And Kevin and all of you, Pastor Kevin, those of you who support this work, you may never hear the extension of your arms and how you enable people like us.

We’re itinerants. We cover the globe. I’m on the road for about 240 days a year and it’s not easy. I would love to proverbially just hang up my skates, you know, and say enough of moving at this high speed. I’ve just spent two weeks at home. I never travel between the fifteenth of December and the 31st of December. I give it completely to my wife, my children and grandchildren. And I just began a few days ago at the Passion Conference.

And now this. And you do it with a little bit of a tear in your eye. You know, you say, I wish I could just stay on at home and continue to have a daily routine rather than crisscrossing around the globe. But God’s placed a burden on our heart. He placed the burden on all of our hearts. And ours is to reach the skeptic, to reach the adversary, to read the to reach the solid thinker and surpass Sir Robert.

Thank you, really. Thank you. On behalf of our whole team and Steve and the generosity of your elders and all who made it possible, it’s the biggest thing we’ve ever done. It’s cost me a lot of night sleep after we’ve done it. But in the middle of the night, I wake up and say, Lord, you brought us to this spot. You better help us as we move forward. Last week, I was speaking at the Passion Conference in Atlanta.

A live audience was 40000 university students representing.

Representing over 40 countries and 115 universities, that burden was laid on Pastor Louie Giglio heart in Atlanta, Georgia, on what a man of God he is.

And just to be able to stand up on that platform. And you know what? I don’t like crowds that size. Years ago, I spoke at Promise Keepers to 60000, and I have never recovered from that. I didn’t want to do this either. I’m much, much more modest about it. You know, this is OK. At least I can see you back there, but I can’t see their eyes and can’t see their face. I’m not sure whom I’m talking to, but we did it.

And what a moving of God through the other speakers and being there. So just to say to you, what a delight.

Keep doing what you’re doing. I wish it weren’t so far from Atlanta or we’d be driving here every Sunday morning ourselves to attend this service. I want to express my thanks as I begin. And what I want to do is minister to you tonight from a message and title raised to run, raised to run. And if you have got your Bibles, I’d like you to turn to Genesis 25, although I think they’ll have it up on the screen. Let me read these verses for you.

From verse 19 to verse 28. This is the account of Abraham’s son, Isaac Abraham became the father of Isaac. And Isaac was 40 years old when he married Rebecca, daughter of Batool, the Haramain from Bananarama and the sister of Laybourne, the Arab man. Isaac prayed to the Lord on behalf of his wife because she was baren. The Lord answered his prayer and his wife, Rebecca, became pregnant. The babies jostled each other within her and she said, Why is this happening to me?

So she went to inquire of the Lord. The Lord said to her, Two nations are in your womb.

Can I stop right there for a moment? If this were being written by a secular person in our time. They’d probably be saying to products of conception, are in your room to substances are in your will, says no, two nations are in your room and two people from within you will be separated. One, people will be stronger than the other and the older will serve the younger. When the time came for her to give birth, there were twins, twin boys in her womb.

The first to come out was red and his whole body was like a hairy garment. So they named him Esaw. After this, his brother came out with his hand grasping Isa’s heel. So he was named Jacob. Isaac was 60 years old when Rebecca gave birth to them. The boys grew up and Esau became a skillful hunter, a man of the open country, while Jacob was a quiet man staying among the tents. Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebecca loved Jacob.

That line there basically spells the trouble as it was going to begin.

When you’re a father and a grandfather and you watch little ones grow up the second time around, my daughter once Naomi, who’s a mother of three, and every time I look at her, I get tired. The oldest is four. And then she’s got two below below them in age.

And she said, Dad, what’s the difference between having a child and a grandchild? I said, I’m not sure I can answer your question, but I can just tell you this.

When you’re a parent, all of your emotional energy is spent in worry and care and all of the stuff that goes on from morning till night, you’re expending that amount of energy.

You have most of it on worry and concern when you’re a grandparent.

Most of that energy is spent on enjoyment, the worry and the trouble you leave to them. And when they when they leave your home at about seven, 30 at night, which is kind of a blessing that they go to bed early. My wife and I just sit and stare at each other and say, what just happened here?

And we spend the rest of the hours cleaning up, but, you know, you watch those little ones and you see the imprint of God on a little life, as the Bible says, to the mouth of infants and babes, you have ordained praise. It’s not enough to just go and play hide and seek. One time you’re going to do it about 20 times because God’s infinite capacity is spelled out in a little child’s ability to exalt in the monotonous.

They do the same thing again and again and again. Do it again. Do it again. Do it again.

Some time ago, my little grandson, Jude, I don’t know where he gets the vocabulary from, but he sure can talk. One day he asked me, Papa, what is the meaning of sophomoric?

And I sounded sophomoric and tried to explain it to him, but he saw his mother scurrying around the house looking for her car keys and Amy’s a wee little one.

My good friend James Roberson is here. And somebody, their precious friends, they were such a vital part of this whole project to in the procurement of this building. He knows. They know Naomi well. They’re ministered to her over the years.

She was she’s just full of energy. And she stopped for a moment and said, I must be losing my mind. And young Jewed walked up to her and said, Mommy, whatever you do, please don’t ever lose your heart because I am in their.

Now, who taught that little one there, who told him to say that, where did that come from?

When my daughter Sarah was only two, we were crossing over from Jordan, cross the West Bank into Israel and never forget it, it was 1977 and at that time you cross over the Allenby Bridge. I’m sure many of you here have done that. You’d spend about two hours standing in line and people are restless. Sarah was being held in Margie’s arms and we prepared her for a long day.

She was a little over two. And at one point she just looked around. And of course, the Israeli soldiers are armed to the teeth out there.

She didn’t know any better. She looked at one of these soldiers and said, Excuse me, sir, do you have any bubble gum?

He was stunned. He took off his gun and gave it to a colleague and came over to Margan, put his arms out to Sarah.

And she went to him, he took her into a back room and now he began to get worried and he came back five minutes later with a tray, three glass of lemonade on them, one for little Sarah, one for my wife, one for me. And he waved us over, put us in his jeep, took us to a taxi stand. And we were on our way through Jericho into Jerusalem.

Sarah and her whole keep in that one question. What is it that disarmed a man like that? What is it that caused a man just for a moment to forget the intensity of his role to keep guard was the voice of a little child and the innocence of that little child who had no clue what was really happening.

And so when God looks at Rebecca and says to her, two nations are in your room, you see we live in time, which is a punctuated calibration of change for us.

But God is unchanging. He lives in the eternal now. We often think we can accelerate the march of history by doing things in a way that probably even ought not to be done. And so when these boys were in the womb and she was told what their destinies were going to be, Rebecca thought she’d give got a hand, you know, and move this thing along a little faster than God had in mind. God works at appointed times. And in those fulfillments of those times, God works and God does his marvelous bidding.

So these two boys are born and you can see the difference right from the beginning. One is going to be an outdoorsman, a hunter. The other is sort of going to be a quiet, pensive type of personality. The father was a hunter type, and so he went for Esau as a preferred person in personality. And the mother was looking at Jacob because she had been receiving she had received the word of what the future was going to be like.

Ladies and gentlemen, we come as a packaged unit. We cannot be carved up. That’s the meaning of the very word individual. We cannot be divided up. We come as compositors. We are unique. And when God fashions and frames us in our mother’s womb, it is for a distinctive imprint on your life and mine.

I sit here and listen to the musicians sing and I marvel at voices like that. When I finished speaking, people asked me if I’ve got a cold. No, I haven’t.

This is a natural Nat King Cole voice that I have. You know, it’s always husky, but I listen to music let as I will be wonderful.

Lord, if you’d given me a little bit of that so that I could wake up every morning and just sing to myself and not get bored with my own voice. Here’s what F.W. Borum, one of my favorite essayists, says, brilliant, brilliant essay called The Sort Of Solomon, may I read for you three or four paragraphs.

F.W. Borum was an Englishman, a minister in Australia and New Zealand, died in the late 50s. He was also the favourite essayist of Ruth Graham, Billy Graham’s wife. She and I often exchanged volumes on Ballroom’s essays over 55 volumes of brilliant essays. I think the greatest, greatest English essayist that I have read Man of God, who passed on just three churches and one of his books he dedicates to the three elected ladies. So it’s so beautiful with language, but here it is, the sort of Solomon Great was the wisdom of Solomon, for he demonstrated one day more vividly and dramatically than it had ever been demonstrated before the utter unreliability of mathematics on the higher plains of human experience.

There is a sense, I suppose, in which twice one hour to a sense in which two and two are for a sense in which many other propositions of this kind are partly, if not wholly true. It is difficult to see how much Inson accountants and other excellent and well-meaning people could go back to their desks and counting houses if their faith in these arithmetical conclusions was seriously shaken. I hasten to say, therefore, that there is a plane, a plane of ridges and ledges and cash books on which these propositions are approximately sound.

But if you rise from that plane to a loftier one, you will find at once that they are quite untenable. They simply will not work. Solomon proves it of the city gate once and for all. It may be true that half a sovereign and half a sovereign make one sovereign. It is obviously untrue that half a baby and half a baby make one baby. Let the sword do its deadly work. Let it leave this baby into two parts and half a baby plus half a baby will represent.

But the grim and gruesome mockery of a child. Two halves of a baby make no baby at all. On this higher plane of human sentiment and experience, the loss of mathematics collapsed completely. When, for example, a man distributes his wealth among his children, he gives to each apart. But when a woman distributes a love among her children, she gives it all to each of them. I do not believe that any man who has once fallen in love will never be persuaded that one and one are only two.

He looks at her and he feels that one plus one would make a million. I do not believe that any happy couple into the SWO sweet shelter whose home a little child has come will ever be convinced of two and one are only three. Life has been enriched a thousand fold by the addition of that one little life to this, and I’m absolutely certain that no pair from housecleaning and protecting arms, their treasure has been snatched will find comfort in the assurance that one from three leaves, two in the great crises of life, once faith in figures breaks down hopelessly.

In the great crises of life, once faith in figures breaks down hopelessly. I met Margie 1966, I was only 20. Married her in 72. Six years later. Been married now for 43 some years, my life was totally enriched in ways that numbers will not fully express. I know you share the same in the experience of your love, your romance and the families that you raise in the great crises of life.

Once faith and figures breaks down hopelessly, there’s a reality here of an indivisibility. And the parents made three blunders blunder. Number one, they played favorites. One preferred one, the other preferred another.

You see two of the great longings of the human heart. One is for Guarder, what the greatest longing is for acceptance, and then the greatest fear is for rejection. Greatest longing is for acceptance, the greatest fear is for rejection, and then when you come to that acceptance, you want to be accepted not just because of what you can do, but how you see this individual as of intrinsic worth.

Essential words not given by state or government, but given by the fact that God himself has made you Imago day in the image of God.

Our secular world today is cruelest, cruelest. With children. When we think of the millions that we obliterate in the womb, I shudder to think of what we will say to God. They tried to eliminate his very son as well. Wanted to do away with him, we stand before God and say to him, why did you allow so much suffering, so much cancer, so much there’s so much hepatitis, so much that what will we say to God if God says, you know what I said a whole lot of people into your world to help you find cures for these, you wouldn’t even allow them into your world.

What would we say then, and I just say to you, the parents may have meant well, but the carving up of the favoritism was the first blunder that was really made, you know, late and for Billy Graham’s brother in law was put up for adoption as a baby.

And it was a long story, told me this story personally was sitting in an airport and talking. You don’t need to go into the details. But it was some 40 years later he tracked his mother down. It was a long story. She had very little choice at that point, I think.

But he tracked her down later, was born in Canada.

And I think it’s somewhere in St. Catherine’s or Chatham or something like that. And he got into the car on a snowy day connected with her. She was shocked and he drove and drove all these miles and the snow had fallen.

It just a carpet of white and the trees were just glistening with that snow. He didn’t know it was going to have find the house. But as he was approaching the neighborhood and slowed down, he noticed an older woman standing outside under a tree. And he pulled over and realized she was looking for him. He pulled into the driveway and he looked at her and he said. I’m Leighton. And the mother couldn’t handle it. She hadn’t seen a.

Since she had handed him over as a little baby and Layton told me when he was leaving and gave her a big hug.

He said, I hold nothing against you, ma’am, I just want you to help me with one question. What best can I do for you? She said, just love me. Just love me, because after all the years of what she’d done and the struggles of wondering where he was, who he was and what had happened, she had no idea.

He was a world wide evangelist and unmarried genie, Billy Graham’s sister, and was touching the globe with those messages.

We have no idea what goes on, but I just want you to know you are made in an indivisible way. God has put you together. Your DNA is unique. Thank him for the way he has made you and tell him to take away the rough edges and sharpen the finer points and be a blessing to the world as only you can be in your unique way.

Nobody can replace you.

Secondly, there was a breakdown of communication when he saw married the wrong when he saw married the wrong person. It says twice in scripture and 26, 34 and 28, six in Genesis that he didn’t know how much he had upset his parents by doing that. But somewhere the communication had broken down.

I have realized. In my own life, how important it is to talk to your kids at the right time and to say the right thing, especially in terms of marriage, who you marry, and I will say this as bluntly as I can, you’ll make it to heaven or hell on earth depending on the person you marry.

Because you see, that’s one relationship from which you can never take a vacation.

It’s there, it’s 100 percent commitment, there’s no vacation from it and will either bring you the greatest thrill or be the greatest heartache he saw ended up in those miserable relationships and said he didn’t know how much he’d hurt his parents. Find the right time, say the right thing.

Thirdly, and quickly, they taught him through deception. They taught him through deception.

The mother made him go and take hold of that blessing in a way the way he had to deceive his father in order to claim that blessing.

And what did she teach her son? You do this in your own way, in your own time, surreptitiously. You’ll gain it by deceit. There are actually there’s actually one major religion in the world where deceit is a virtue. I’ll let you guess which one. They praise deceit, it’s virtuous of you can deceive especially the enemy and make all kinds of pretenses so that you can get exactly what you want, deception and contract, deception and treaties. Deception is a virtue.

It’s a virtuous thing if you can deceive the person you’re trying to overcome, because all of life in that system is is a war. It’s a it’s a struggle.

And so they go forward with that virtue of deception.

There’s a story told somebody wrote to me recently and a little boy told his dad, would you please go with me tomorrow?

The school is having a small gathering. So the father says, how small? He says the principal, you and me.

I used to be invited to a lot of those small gatherings. My father didn’t had the courage to tell my dad if I weren’t sick, but then he’d make me sick at that point. His father is called up by a principal in India and told us because their son was being suspended constantly. So the father said, why are you always suspending him? Because he’s stealing things. So what is he stealing? Pencils, pens, erasers, paper clips, reams of paper from the from the school and says, I don’t know why he would do that.

I could bring all of those things from the office for him. And as soon as he said that he realized what he’d done, he’d put his imprint upon his son and trained him to think that way.

And so it goes from favoritism to the breakdown of communication to deception.

And the more the boys on the run. Jacob’s on the run and he knows he’s going to run for a long time to come. But while he’s running, he sets the spillar down with a stone for it’s for his pillow and he’s sound asleep and God speaks to him in a dream. And when he wakes up from that dream, he said he was going to call that place by it Eyl, the House of God. He didn’t know God was there even while he was running your first step.

When everything is gone wrong or things have gone wrong, your first step will always begin in communion with the living God, communion with the living God.

You know, if you’re told to meditate and sit and chant mantras and look inwards and all of that, then you have just got a capital I the reason in the pantheistic worldview, they don’t really pray. Technically, they cannot pray. They have to meditate because they are part of the ultimate reality. There’s no I there’s only one big capital I so they look inwards. Does union with the impersonal absolute. That’s the goal.

Not so in the Christian faith, this communion with the living God. And dare I tell you, the Judeo Christian faith is the only combination of teaching which calls you to communion with the living God in pantheism.

It’s union in the other major monotheistic. You will never, ever think of talking about communion with God. It would be a blasphemous statement to them.

But God calls you and me to break that bread and to drink that cup and to do that in remembrance of me, Christ in you, the hope of glory, that indwelling presence that came and Tabernacle in the world offers to tabernacle within you.

You and I are the temple of the living God, communion with God. And he says, You know what? I didn’t know God was right here.

This passage influenced the great poet Francis Thompson, who was a drug addict, was on opium, though given a genius mind and applied to Oxford, was turned down two or three times because he couldn’t shake his opium habit. He would live in two places at Charing Cross, hanging out with the losers and the lost, buying his drugs, selling pencils, bootlaces and all of that to buy the drugs, to keep that habit going. As an addict at night, he would wrap his dirty raincoat around him in the chill nights and sleep by the River Thames, Charing Cross and Thames, Charing Cross and Thames.

He’s the one who wrote. I fled him down the nights and down the days. I fled him down the arches of the years. I fled him down the labyrinth and ways of my mind. And in the midst of tears, I hid from him and under running laughter down titanic blooms of fear, unvested hopes, I spread running from those strong feet, those strong feet that followed after one of his greatest piece of poetry was called the Kingdom of God.

He wrote this or world invisible. We view the whole world intangible. We touch the world unknowable. We know the in apprehensive will be clutched the desert fish sword to find the ocean. An eagle plunged to find the air. Do we ask the stars and motion if they have rumour of the their not whether healing systems darken or our benumbed conceiving soars? The drift of pinions would be Hakin beats on our own clay shattered doors. The angels keep their ancient places touch but a stone and start a wing does ye does your strange faces that amidst missed the many splendored thing but when so sad thou canst not sadder trying upon this also loss shall shine the traffic of Jacob’s ladder between Heaven and Charing Cross in the night my soul, my daughter cried clutching heaven by the hymns low Christ walking on the water.

Not of Ganzer it but tems.

Imagine that. The same imagery of the latter was given. In the New Testament, as well as the son of men and the angels ascending and descending communion with God, God will track you down no matter how far you run.

If you will only pause long enough to know he is nearer to you than you realize. They talk about the hiddenness of God. We need to talk a lot more about the obviousness of God. He’s here and he’s like the hound of Heaven keeps following you, following you, following you. I can guarantee you that this room will they will never end with testimonies tonight. If we opened up the microphone to say how God met us in a place where we never, ever dreamed he would catch up with us, of all the places I never dreamed of meeting, God was on my bed of suicide when I was 17 years old.

He followed me right to that bed.

Whenever I go to Delhi, I always rent a taxi alone and I go and park in front of the hospital. It used to be called Wellington Hospital. Then it’s not called I’m not a lawyer hospital or something like that. I park in front of that and I just look in there and I said, Lord, that’s where it all happened. When I was just 17. God is following you if you’re running from him today. Stop. He’s got a ladder towards you and he wants you to look up and know he’s trying to get you to commune with him.

Communion with God. Secondly, reunion with his brother. You know, he’s running from Lebanon, his father in law is messed up there to all kinds of things happened out there, and now he’s made up somehow and he’s running. But he’s all the stories quite intricate. And now he’s got to meet up with Esau Esau’s the Hunter. Jacob wasn’t quite with muscles like watermelons, and so he’s going to meet up with Esau and, you know, in India, they say never go empty handed to visit a friend.

And even more so visiting an enemy. You always have something in your hand. They always bring you sweets and Hindi.

The same with Mummy to sweeten the mouth. Sweet, no shipping a big tray of sweets. And oftentimes the larger the tray, you say, oh, what apology is coming now?

You know what’s going on?

But that’s probably exaggerated. They do it at all of their festivals. They do it to be courteous. Half of my suitcases wait when I go overseas, his gifts to people. My mother brought me up that way.

And I do have some regrets because I arrive with all these gifts and sometimes, see, I forgot my socks on my pajamas or something because it already weighed so much. And so this boy’s got all the gifts he’s sending ahead to he saw he’s softening them up before he gets there.

When he meets up with Esau. You know, resources to him, at one point he says to Esaw, when he saw forgives, you know what he says I see in your face. The face of God. He betrayed him. He cheated him. And now when he says he sees it, he saw the face of God.

Here’s the important thing that I think you and I need to remember, and it is this, that first he had seen his own heart because he had prayed to God and said, I’m not going to let you go until you bless me. And God said, What is your name?

Why you thought God knew everything? He doesn’t even know his name. No, no, no, because when he stole the blessing from a blind father, he lied about who he was. Yeah, that whistle is right now, he is before an all seeing God and God says, all right. I’ll do I’ll bless you, who are you? He says, you’ve got me. My name is Jacob. God says I will make a great nation out of you.

This nation will never be great until it recognizes the sin that is in our own heart and calls ourselves truthfully as God sees us. That is the first step in any revival in any turning to when we see our hearts, the way God sees us, the arrogance that we see today, the hubris, the pride, the know it all.

And the more we think we know, the more humiliated we get on the world scene. Only when we acknowledge before God how weak and impoverished we are can God really turn to start helping us. Communion with God. Reunion with your brother. I want to challenge you, is there somebody with whom you’re at loggerheads today? It’s only one thing you’re going to get a hold of that person. So, look, I’m sorry, what am I? My part is in this.

You tell me what it is. I will take the blame and I want to rebuild this relationship. Have you ever sat at a table with two hostile people are trying to make up? Try going to the Middle East today and be a bridge builder, my goodness. We sat across the table, five of us from one of the sheiks, I won’t name him, who spoke at Yasser Arafat’s funeral. He was such an angry man and the archbishop of Canterbury, who took five hours sitting across the table talking to him at one point.

I just want to close my ears and say we are really not here just to listen to you. We’re hoping you’ll even give us a little bit of a hearing.

The anger like a volcano of fire and brimstone spewing out. Until one is willing to say, I’m sorry, let’s talk, let’s build, we will always be killing each other for land and position and power and prestige. The tensions in the Middle East go back for millennia after millennia because of the logic of unforgiveness, communion with God, reunion with the brother.

And lastly, the transference of the trust to the next generation. You know, there comes a time I wrote this down one day and I told it to my son.

I said, Son, there comes a time in life when the energy needed to perpetuate the convictions held in a family demand the strength of a younger mind. And I repeat that for you.

There comes a time in life when the energy needed to perpetuate the convictions held in a family demands the strength of a younger mind. For those of you who are in your younger years here and your values have come to you from your parents who love God and who serve God, it’ll be your responsibility to perpetuate those convictions and carry them forward. Vitally important that you carry the torch and carry the flame forward.

So when I looked at those thousands of young university students, there’s a tough world.

What are we seeing in politics today, what are we seeing we’re seeing the product of the 70s and 80s of the Ivy League school, radical liberalism, that’s what it is.

The radical liberalism where all establishment is to be thrown away and the extreme left position is to be perpetuated, you see, if we go into politics, we only talk about right and left. We forget there’s an up and down. That’s what God calls you and me, too, to the up and the down, and we must transfer the trust to the next generation, whether you’re doing it at the dinner table or whether you’re doing it while you’re watching a ballgame or whether you’re doing it by the side of a loved one and their bedside.

You know, even as even as I’m speaking to my mother in law’s 96 years old, she has four daughters, my my married to her daughter Margie. No to Margie would have actually been here, but she wanted so much to come as well. But she’s in Toronto because her mother, 96, was hit by a car three days ago and is now in bed.

In a pretty bad way, pretty bad way. But, you know. For a mother to be that senior in her years and see her daughter standing around the bed. To love her and be there for her, Margay didn’t even bat an eyelid. She packed her bags and the next morning she was on a plane from Atlanta and she went to Toronto, one of the door there. All around there, young people, you have a responsibility.

What did they say, child is father to the man you become the parents of the next generation and this generation, Jacob gathered his family around and.

Instructed them and busted on communion with God, reunion with brothers, transference of the trust I want to close with a prayer by Michelle Quist. The French mystic, I want you to give me your undivided attention. It’s a powerful prayer. I have fallen Lord once more. I cannot go on, I will never succeed. I’m ashamed and I don’t dare look at you, Lord. And then I’ve struggled for I knew you were right near me, bending over me, watching.

But temptation blew in like a hurricane. And instead of looking at you, I turned my head away. I stepped aside while you stood silent and sorrowful, like the spurned fiancee who sees his loved one carried off by his rival.

When the wind died down as suddenly as it had arisen when the lightning sea stopped a proudly streak in the darkness. All of a sudden, Lord, I found myself alone, ashamed, disgusted with my sin in my hands. This sin that I selected as a customer, alexis purchase decision that I’ve paid for but cannot return because the storekeeper is no longer there. This tasteless in this odious and the sin that now sickens me that I once wanted. But I want no more Lord, I imagine sort played with fondled for a long time and I finally embraced while coldly bypassing you.

I embrace steps in my arms outstretched, my eyes and heart irresistibly drawn the sin that I’ve crossed and consumed with gluttony. It’s mine now, but it possesses me as the spider web holds captive the fly. It’s mine, sticks to me, flows in my veins, fills my heart. It has slipped in everywhere as darkness slips into the forest of dust and fills all the patches of light. I cannot get rid of it. I run from it like the mass of an unwanted and mangy dog.

But it catches up with me and rubs joyfully against my legs. Everyone must notice it. I’m so ashamed, Lord, that I feel like crawling to avoid being seen. I’m ashamed of being seen by my friends. I’m ashamed of being seen by you, Lord, because you love me.

But I forgot you. I forgot you because I was thinking only of myself and one can think of several persons at once, one must choose and I chose. But now your voice, your look, your love, they hurt me.

They weigh me down. They weigh me down more than my son. Lord, please don’t look at me like that because I’m naked and dirty down and shadowed with no strength left. Make no more promises to you. I can only stand before you.

Come on, son, look up, isn’t it mainly a vanity that is wounded? If you loved me, you would grieve, but you would trust me. Do you think that there’s a limit to my love for you? Do you think for a moment I have stopped loving you, but you still rely on yourself? Son, you must rely on me. Ask my pardon and get up quickly.

You see, it’s not falling. That is the worst. But staying on the ground.

If you’ve fallen. And you’re sitting here saying, Ravi, that’s me. I’ve stumbled, I’ve embraced sin in a way I never dreamed of doing it, and like that unwanted and mangy dog it rubs up against my legs, fills in my heart like darkness, fills the patches of nightlight. Dusk. If you’ve got that reality in your mind, God’s telling you to get up. You know what’s even better? He gets you up. He gives you that energy, just like Ezekiel’s on a man stand up in the spirit of God entered into me and stood me up.

God will give you that. You could be a man or woman of God as he has designed you to be, if you will only trust him. And believe that he wants to make your life the best for which he intended as you begin this new year. Why not make a new start to. And I’m going to prove it to. Father, you’ve spoken to us tonight. I have no doubt. Lord, I’m equally suddenly have spoken on the other meetings here, knowing just your servants who have ministered.

Your word never returns empty, but accomplishes that for which it was sent forth. How can I thank your father for giving me the privilege of standing on the platform behind the pulpit of this great congregation? You have blessed me and blessed my life through these men and women. We thank you for it, Lord, and you know, that comes from our hearts.

But most importantly, Father, tonight, there are those who need you individually. And ladies and gentlemen, I don’t want to make this long. I don’t want to make this long, but I’ll take just one minute. If God has spoken to you and you know you have to do business with him, are not planned on doing this.

But I think I’d like to have just one minute you stand up where you are, and I’d love to close this meeting and prayer for you as you take the stand. Yes. God bless you. God bless you. See several standing right of the back and upstairs on my right here. Further on my right. Right. Don’t be fearful.

You’re standing before the sovereign lord who can transform your heart. Would you do that, would you do that? If you’re nervous to stand alone, just tell the person next to you, will you please stand with me? I need to get things right right now. Stand up quickly, take another 30 seconds more. Thankfully, thankfully, waited. I want to talk especially to young men, will you begin this new year with a commitment that you are going to be a pure hearted young man?

Forgot because I believe this world so desperately needs to look at young men who honor guard and who honor the strength that God has given them. Stand where you are. If you’re a young man needing to get right with God.

God bless you, sir. God bless you. Yes, God bless you. God bless you. Anyone else before I pray? Father, I thank you for those who are standing pour out deep conviction and in proportion to that, the assurance, let them meet you where they are. Lord, if they don’t know, you may tonight be the night they find you as their savior.

If they do know you, but wandering a far off, let them come and repentance to return to the father’s house. God bless Gateway, may its best years be ahead. His leadership. Thank you so much for their worship team, a beautiful job they do in bringing us to your feet with resounding praise. May a Holy Spirit make this a great year, 2016 and greater years ahead. Thank you once again for the honor you’ve given me to be here.

In Jesus name. Amen. God bless you and my brother. Thank you so much.

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